Duke: Free Speech on Campus

Bostock Library, Duke University

Program in American Values and Institutions: “Free Speech on Campus: A Conversation with Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill, Jeff Powell, and Nicole Ligon”


The Program in American Values and Institutions at Duke University, a JMC partner program, will host Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill, Jeff Powell, and Nicole Ligon for a conversation on freedom of speech on college campuses.

Thursday, October 3, 2019 • 6:30 PM
Freeman Center for Jewish Life • Duke University

Email nah7@duke.edu for more details.

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Jacqueline Pfeffer MerrillJacqueline Pfeffer Merrill is Director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Campus Free Expression Project. Prior to joining BPC, she was the Executive Director of the Fund for Academic Renewal, a program of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). Before leading ACTA’s Fund for Academic Renewal, Merrill served as ACTA’s Vice President of Development. Earlier in her career, Merrill served on the faculties of St. John’s College (Annapolis), known for its Great Books curriculum, and the College of William & Mary. Her articles and essays have appeared in venues including Society, Law & Liberty, and Philanthropy.

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H. Jefferson Powell is a Professor of Law at the Duke University of Law. Previously, he has served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice and as a professor at George Washington University Law School. In addition to this recent tenure at the Department of Justice, which provided legal advice to the president, the attorney general and other executive branch officers, he served in the U.S. Department of Justice in various capacities from 1993 to 2000, and in 1996, he was the Principal Deputy Solicitor General. He has briefed and argued cases in both federal and state courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. His recent books include Targeting Americans: The Constitutionality of the U.S. Drone War (2016), The President as Commander in Chief:  An Essay in Constitutional Vision (2014), and Constitutional Conscience: The Moral Dimension of Judicial Decision (2008).

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Nicole Ligon is a Lecturing Fellow and the Supervising Attorney of the First Amendment Clinic at Duke Law School, where she teaches First Amendment law in a clinical setting as well as Entertainment Law. Previously she was a litigator at Cahill Gordon & Reindel in New York City, working alongside legendary First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams. Since graduating from Duke Law School, Professor Ligon has focused her practice on representing individuals who have been discriminated against for their viewpoints or opinions as well as advocating for freedom of the press. She is a member of the Legal Network for Gender Equity where she assists individuals seeking guidance on speaking publicly about their stories of sexual harassment while shielding against defamation concerns. Professor Ligon frequently contributes analysis and commentary to news stories involving First Amendment concerns and has most recently published op-eds analyzing the constitutionality of revenge pornography bans and campus speech issues. 

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The Program in American Values and Institutions at Duke University, a JMC partner program, seeks to provide an understanding of how American values have evolved in response to particular historical circumstances. The program’s courses, lectures, and workshops explore how political ideals and beliefs about human flourishing shaped the origins and development of American political, economic and social institutions and encourage students, faculty and the general public to subject American ideals and institutions to critical analysis.

Learn more about the Program in American Values and Institutions >>



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